American Psycho, a 2000 film, starring the ever-so-iconic Christian Bale birthed a voluminous cultural rupture; a total shock, when the audiences of that time first witnessed it. They were thoroughly bewildered by the grotesque nature of the Mary Harron-directed premise. When the renowned Vice alum wanted to move forward with the project, many deemed it a “career suicide.”
Now, years later, it would be an understatement to propose that the film has garnered a cult-classic status. With a tale involving a character like Patrick Bateman, it created a path for intriguing recent-age memes to laugh at. The effects of its narrative can be felt even decades after its inception.
However, what has remained concerning since the start of the endeavor and even now is the misinterpretation of Christian Bale’s spine-chilling, satirical role. In a recent GQ video, Bale opened up about his experiences of working in the film. Furthermore, he also attested to the concern he felt when people in real life were upholding Patrick Bateman as an idol back then.
Christian Bale Reflects On American Psycho
In the GQ video titled, “Christian Bale Breaks Down His Most Iconic Characters“, the first segment was dedicated to American Psycho. This comes off as no shocker. The role of Patrick Bateman was sinister and gruesome. Adapted from the novel of the same name written by Bret Easton Ellis, the film served as an ironic, dark-comedic take on 80’s American capitalism and ideas of misogyny and toxic masculinity.
Bale had a nuanced depiction of the character. He managed to intricately devote himself to the premise. The actor’s micro-expressions and excellent dialogue delivery cemented the notorious character as one of the most iconic psychopaths to have emerged in film history.
While reflecting on such a career-changing role, Christian Bale remarked that he would always carry the novel with him whenever they would shoot any sequence. No matter the scene, the actor would have the book by his side. The Machinist alum spent his time often reading through the pages as he believed that author Bret Easton Ellis had “many wonderful descriptions” that would serve to help Bale furthermore.
The actor then went on to state the reasons why he clicked with the director of the premise, Mary Harron. He recalled that during his audition, he did not delve deep into the nitty-gritty of his character. He was not concerned with what Patrick Bateman’s childhood looked like or the reasons behind his devolution to madness. To Bale, the character always felt like an “alien.”
Christian Bale reminisced how in the middle of the audition sequence, while doing a particular scene, he ended up laughing and Harron, too, started cracking up. That is when the two deduced that both of them share a “sick sense of humor.” Hence, they were instantly able to make things work between them throughout the filming process.
The People Of Wall Street Scared Christian Bale
The character embodied by Christian Bale is a “materialistic yuppie” who works as an investment banker on Wall Street. Naturally, some sequences required visiting the Wall Street trading floors that existed at the time. Bale, however, recalled a concerning experience that occurred one time which was enough to stupefy him. He explained it in the following way:
“When there still was the Wall Street trading floors and everything, I went and visited, you know, all different levels of people at Wall Street. But the guys on the trading floor, when I arrived there before making the film… I got there and a bunch of ’em were going, “Oh, Patrick Bateman!” and patted me on the back and going, “Oh yeah, we love him!” And I was like… yeah, ironically, right?”
To his question, the people on the trading floor responded, in a completely aloof fashion, “What do you mean?” This incident sparked extreme worry within Christian Bale, who was seemingly dumbfounded to see people praise a despicable, malicious character.
The actor then emphasized an important aspect of the film. He elaborated that American Psycho is a satire about 80’s capitalism and is executed in a manner that is quite ridiculous and “far-fetched”, to a point that it’s hilarious to the actor. In such a context, commending the skewed, morally unethical character seems rather concerning as it further proves the point Bret Easton Ellis was trying to make in his novel.
Putting such concerning implications aside, American Psycho is nothing less than a work of art. It delves into a convoluted story that is both disturbing and sardonic. It’s seemingly absurd, and comical, but also quite thought-provoking. Without an ounce of doubt, it will remain one of Christian Bale’s finest works to date.
Amsterdam, which marks Christian Bale’s latest endeavor, is out in theatres now.